Articles Posted in Utilities Law

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In February 2006, BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., and BellSouth MNS, Inc., filed an ex parte motion for a protective order in the Chancery Court, seeking to protect certain documents. The documents fell into the following four categories: (1) an August 2005 proposal submitted by BellSouth to the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services in response to the Department’s request for telecommunications products and services; (2) the Telecommunications Products and Service Agreement between BellSouth and the Department dated November 2005; (3) correspondence between BellSouth and the Department related to the first two documents; and (4) related BellSouth marketing materials. Following legislative amendments in 2015 to the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983 and to Mississippi Code Section 25-1-100, CellularSouth sought production of the proposal and the contract between the Department and BellSouth. After review, the Supreme Court found the chancery court erred in its interpretation of the amended Mississippi Code Section 25-61-11 when it entered an order continuing to protect the contract from production. Furthermore, the Court held that, because the rights in question in the case sub judice were created by statute, the Public Records Act, as amended, governed this dispute. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cellular South, Inc. v. BellSouth Telecommunications, LLC" on Justia Law

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This is the third appeal from the City of Gulfport’s taking of the Dedeaux Utility Company via eminent domain. Dedeaux appealed after the first two trials, and the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded both times. The parties have since held a third trial, and Gulfport appealed and Dedeaux cross-appealed issues raised from the third trial. Gulfport raised thirteen issues on appeal. And while the Court gave careful consideration to each, the Court found only five warranted discussion, and yet none warranted reversal of the third trial's final judgment. Gulfport asked the trial judge to “determine a fair and equitable interest rate to be paid on the Final Judgment based upon the rates paid on invested funds during the time period in which the eminent domain action was pending.” The Supreme Court reversed the trial judge’s post-trial order denying Gulfport’s motion to establish the interest rate, and remanded this action to the Harrison County Special Court of Eminent Domain for the limited purpose of determining the applicable interest rate and entering an order requiring payment of that interest. The Court declined to address Dedeaux’s cross-appeal. View "City of Gulfport v. Dedeaux Utility Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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This is the third appeal from the City of Gulfport’s taking of the Dedeaux Utility Company via eminent domain. Dedeaux appealed after the first two trials, and the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded both times. The parties have since held a third trial, and Gulfport appealed and Dedeaux cross-appealed issues raised from the third trial. Gulfport raised thirteen issues on appeal. And while the Court gave careful consideration to each, the Court found only five warranted discussion, and yet none warranted reversal of the third trial's final judgment. Gulfport asked the trial judge to “determine a fair and equitable interest rate to be paid on the Final Judgment based upon the rates paid on invested funds during the time period in which the eminent domain action was pending.” The Supreme Court reversed the trial judge’s post-trial order denying Gulfport’s motion to establish the interest rate, and remanded this action to the Harrison County Special Court of Eminent Domain for the limited purpose of determining the applicable interest rate and entering an order requiring payment of that interest. The Court declined to address Dedeaux’s cross-appeal. View "City of Gulfport v. Dedeaux Utility Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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Thomas Blanton sought judicial review of certain rate increases approved by the Public Service Commission for Mississippi Power Company (“MPC”). An examination of controlling law and statutes, the Constitutions of the United States and Mississippi, and a comprehensive review of Commission proceedings revealed that Commission failed to comply with the language of the Base Load Act, inter alia, and exceeded its authority granted by the Act. The increased rates were achieved by including “mirror CWIP” in the rate base and rates. Following the inclusion of “mirror CWIP,” the Commission “approve[d] the retail revenue adjustment over 2013 and 2014 . . . allow[ing] the Company an annual rate designed to collect $125,000,000 for 2013, escalating to $156,000,000 in 2014. This represented a 15% and 3% increase, respectively.” The Supreme Court found that the increased rates on 186,000 South Mississippi ratepayers failed to comport with the Act or, otherwise, with Mississippi law. Accordingly, the order granting rate increases was reversed, and the matter remanded to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Mississippi Power Company, Inc. v. Mississippi Public Service Comm'n" on Justia Law